September 1, 2020 – Lawsuit Settled for $3.2 Million
New York City has agreed to pay up to $3.2 million to settle the proposed class action lawsuit detailed on this page.
The settlement, submitted to the court on August 7, 2020, covers all persons or entities whose wire or electronic communications with Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Rosenfeld’s personal cell phone and/or with Detective Jarrett Lemieux’s personal cell phone were intercepted using ADACS—the software used to conduct wiretaps—at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office from June 9, 2015 through November 27, 2016.
The city and the DA office employees involved in the litigation do not admit to any wrongdoing and deny all liability, and one of the primary defendants, Tara Lenich, is not involved in the settlement, according to court documents.
The official settlement website—wiretapclassaction.com—is set to launch soon. Those covered by the settlement will receive notice via direct mail and/or telephone, according to court filings.
The City of New York and a former Brooklyn prosecutor are among 10 high-ranking defendants in a proposed class action lawsuit filed by relatives of King’s County, New York’s assistant district attorney and an NYPD detective who were the subjects of an18-month illegal wiretapping operation.
The plaintiffs are among a proposed class of individuals who the lawsuit says were in contact with the assistant DA and detective at the center of the wiretapping scheme, which was initiated without warrants as a means for former King’s County Supervisory Assistant District Attorney Tara Lenichto spy on the individuals, one of whom was a former love interest. According to the lawsuit, proposed class members had no idea that their conversations were being tapped, nor provided consent for their communications to be monitored.
“Not one of the hundreds of individuals who spoke to, or exchanged text messages with [the assistant DA and detective] during the time their cellular phones were illegally tapped consented to their conversations being intercepted or recorded,” according to the lawsuit. “Each of these individuals is the victim of a serious invasion of privacy carried out by a high-ranking New York City official, acting in the course of her employment, on City time, using City equipment and facilities, and financed by City funds.”
The plaintiffs say Lenich used both her authority as deputy chief of Special Investigations of Violent Criminal Enterprises and supervisory oversight of the DA’s wire room operations—as well as forged judges’ signatures—to conduct round-the-clock wiretaps on two cell phones “every hour of every day for well over a year.” The result of Lenich, who is currently serving a one-year and a day sentence in federal prison in Connecticut, and her co-defendants’ operation, the case says, was hundreds of hours of recorded conversations all stored on King’s County District Attorney servers.
As for Lenich’s co-defendants, among whom is the estate of a now-deceased Brooklyn DA, the lawsuit alleges the individuals, who all hold or held supervisory roles, “must have” known what was going on due to state and federal recordkeeping requirements.
“It is inconceivable that the Supervisory Defendants could have maintained this information without realizing that Lenich was conducting an unauthorized and illegal wiretap operation,” the suit reads.
At least 700 individuals whose communications were allegedly intercepted by the wiretapping operation may be entitled to statutory liquidated damages of at least $10,000 each, the lawsuit says, citing the federal Wiretap Act.